Thursday, April 5, 2012

Infecting My Infection Experiment

A few weeks ago I brewed up a basic American Blonde recipe to test my fermenters to see if I had effectively killed off the infection that may have been housed in them from previous batches.  The conical version of the beer seemed to be infected from the start so I decided to sour up the whole lot of it.  After checking the final gravity on the Better Bottle version and tasting it, I decided that I didn't have to have 5 gallons of this one bottled and could go for a half batch or so.  It seems a little thin with a FG of 1.005.  The flavors are nice, but the body is a little off.  I shouldn't have expected much different since I pulled 10.5 gals (post boil) from 12.5# of grain, and with such a low OG (1.037) even taking up the mash temp to 153*F wasn't going to stop it from finishing low.  Thus the decision to purposely infect the infection experiment batch.

On the conical, I diverted 1 gallon to a jug that housed a Brett starter to funk up, and I hit the remainder with 1/4 cup starter from Russian River Consecration and 1/4 cup of my Lambic along with 8 pieces of French Oak.  After a few days it was tasting quite oxidized, so I moved it out of the conical into smaller containers.  I put all the oak into one jug so it will be over oaked and used to blend into the final mix.  The rest was put into 2L bottles with a small addition of sugar.

I bottled 18 bottles worth from the Better Bottle using carb tabs just so I can know exactly how the final batch actually turned out.  The rest I transferred into the conical where I added the entire 2.5 gallons of this wort fermented on all Brett, the gallon of Bretted conical beer, and added 1.25# Clover Honey for added sugars.  I put a piece of saran wrap over the top so that I can easily look inside at what is going on with out allowing oxygen in every time I take a peek.  The saran wrap is kind of fogging up from the honey fermenting, which started out as a ring of foam as is began to dissolve from the bottom of the conical and start to ferment and slowly developed into a full krausen by 2 days later.

The plan is to let the Better Bottle version now in the conical funk up with Brett for a few months while the original conical version sours in the 2L bottles.  After 3 months or so, I will drain off a couple gallons of the Bretted conical into 2L bottles and add a 1 gallon starter of Lacto and honey, as well as a couple of the 2L soured bottles to get the souring bugs going in the Brett only version.  After some time passes I will pull some more form the conical and add the remaining 2L bottles of soured Blonde as well as the oaked sour Blonde to the mix.  Come the end of summer, I will have 2 gallons of Blonde Ale on Brett, and about 8 gallons of soured, oaked, wild Blonde which I will split 3 gallons onto cherries, 3 gallons onto apricots, and keep 2 gallons straight giving me a total of about 10+ gallons.  We will see how time plays this one out. 

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